The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.

Kellen Keiser and the $20,000 lamb 2009.09.16

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

That must be some lamb to command a sale price of this magnitude.

Not really. Instead, it’s one special kid who owned that lamb—Kellen Keiser, a freshman at Fayette High School.kellen.keiser.bed.jpg

Swanton Machine and Welding paid $5,500 at the Fulton County Fair junior livestock sale last week—not bad when a typical lamb might fetch $350—but that was just the beginning.

Once the bidding ended and a winner was declared, the other bidders also wanted in on the action.

“After the first person bought it, others held up their cards and said, ‘We’re going to donate our bid, also,” explained sales manager Curt Johnson. “It just snowballed.”

And the reason for this flow of cash? It’s to assist the Keiser family financially as Kellen battles leukemia.

“Kellen’s grandpa, Mick Schaffner, asked if he could get a group together to buy the lamb,” said Kellen’s mother, Tina.

Ken Wagner organized a collection of area residents who pledged $1,250—a sum they thought would be sufficient for a winning bid.

Before the bidding got underway, however, the auctioneer gave a short statement about Kellen’s health and that was enough for Connie Zeiter, wife of Swanton Machine and Welding owner Norm Zeiter.

As Tina heard the story, Connie said, “We need to buy that.”

The bidding ended at $5,500 and then the donations started to flow in. The tally reached about $19,700, Curt said, then someone chipped in to make it an even $20,000.

The final sum from the auction ended around $20,500, but that still wasn’t the end. Tina said a check for $2,000 arrived in the mail Saturday from someone who missed out on the auction.

“It’s quite astounding,” she said, and Curt agrees.

“With something like this, people just open their hearts and wallets,” he said. “People who don’t even know Kellen got involved. That’s the great thing about living in a small, rural community. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this area when something like this happens.”

Kellen’s father Kirk was amazed by all the donations, also, and one in particular.

“After Kellen’s lamb had sold I was sitting in the show arena watching the sale and trying to digest everything that had taken place,” Kirk said. “A friend of Kellen’s from 4-H camp came up and told me he had donated his lamb check to Kellen.

“It was just amazing that this boy wanted to help so much that he gave up his entire check. It makes me feel proud and secure that there are such good kids and loving people in our small community and neighboring ones as well. With the tough time our country is in, it’s amazing and overwhelming just how much everyone wants to help.”

Battling leukemia

Kellen wasn’t feeling well last spring and testing determined that he was suffering from ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia—a cancer of the white blood cells that normally fight infections.

Although childhood cancer isn’t common, ALL is the most prevalent form of the disease in children. The National Cancer Institute describes the treatment of the disease as “one of the great success stories” in fighting cancer. The recovery rate is now very high.

Kellen receives treatment on an out-patient basis, but he isn’t able to attend school and probably won’t be back in the classroom until February, Tina said, after an intense schedule of chemotherapy concludes.

He intends to keep up with his studies through a variety of means. Some friends and relatives bought a laptop computer for him to use at home and teachers are taping some class sessions.

There’s also an effort underway to connect Kellen to school via a webcam, and some students are offering to serve as tutors.

His tutors will have to be in good health due to his compromised immune system. That condition really limits his contact with friends. He was back in the hospital last week due to a bacterial infection.

As the livestock auction proceeded at the fairgrounds, Kellen was at St. Vincent hospital in Toledo, leaving his 11-year-old sister, Emilie, to show the lamb.

“His poor sister did all the work,” Tina said, since Kellen’s illness was diagnosed about the time he started his fair project.

Kellen missed the big sale, but he’s delighted with the results.

“The thing that made him the happiest was learning he made more than the Grand Champion,” Tina said.

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